23 Jan Why Creating Actionable Content Should Be Your 2020 Goal
It’s no secret we love talking about content, but in our most recent webinar, we did it again. Colton Miller and Mike Marsh, resident Boostability SEO experts, walked attendees through recent changes in the SEO world and made predictions for 2020. A large portion of their forecasts were centered on content creation.
After working in SEO for more than a decade, Boostability knows first-hand the importance of powerful content. But the purpose of content is shifting away from merely information for consumers. Rather, Google and other search engines are looking for content that encourages users to take action. This is a significant change; this article will walk you through it.
The User Experience Should be Useful
As illustrated in our webinar, the user experience is the crux of the Google updates we’ve seen over the past few years. Google has been attempting to determine what kinds of content are useful to users, and where that content comes from. Ultimately, the crawlers are looking for content on your site that is not only useful and informative, but actionable.
In previous iterations of Google indexing, having a significant quantity of content was enough to get you a passing mark. The crawlers didn’t do much to determine if the content was useful past containing the right keywords. This meant that pages on a website may not include ways to actually make a choice, buy a product, or move to the next step in the customer journey.
Over the past year, Google has determined that this kind of “raw content” alone is not enough. The best kind of content will drive the user to complete an action or follow through on a goal. Pages should be designed with a way to get consumers the information they need to make a decision.
How do you write actionable content?
Writing actionable content starts with something simple: an end goal. For each page of your website, you should have an action you are gearing your readers to take. You may want visitors to your site to
- Provide their email address in a form
- Schedule a demo
- Call a sales rep
- Schedule a meeting
- Register for an event
But if you’re content isn’t specific in its goals or the language it uses to encourage the desired response, the content you write cannot be considered “actionable.” Here are a few ways to fix that.
Focus on quality rather than quantity.
As we mentioned in our introduction, having massive amounts of text is no longer sufficient to prove to Google your website is relevant to particular keywords. Site crawlers are now focused on determining if your content is valuable, not simply that there’s a lot of it.
Keywords are still important; in fact, they’re the basis of every SEO campaign. But after picking the right keywords, you have to make sure the content that houses them is filled with good information. Consumers are looking for personalized content that speaks to their needs, which requires a more crafted content strategy.
Anticipate the needs of your consumers.
Through analytics, data reviewing, and other tools, figure out which pages on your website are the most frequently visited. This can help you identify your consumers main concerns and interests, and drive you to create content that will help them not only get information about particular topics, but also make a purchase in order to fulfill a need.
Answer frequently asked questions.
No matter your industry, there’s bound to be a set of questions that everyone gets asked. If you’re not sure what these are for your particular business or target client, start with sales people and other employees in customer-facing positions. They’ll be able to tell you the common questions they get asked every day and talk to you about their usual responses.
When you’ve identified what customers want to know, answer their questions in an easy-to-navigate spot on your website. By giving your site visitors readily available answers to their usual and most often pressing questions, they’ll be more inclined to take a more definitive action that involves more than just calling a general number to go over general concerns. It also frees up your customer-facing employees to move potential consumers into the next step in the sales funnel since the basics are already covered.
Design your site with users in mind.
We’ve already emphasized how important the customer journey should be to your content strategy. But that strategy needs to be supported by a site architecture that easy to navigate and simple to use. Web design is trending in favor of minimalist yet bold design. Sites should be clean and sleek, without distracting design elements that hinder customers trying to understand your basic message.
There are a few secrets to web design some people won’t tell you; we wrote about them here.
Include empowering CTAs.
Calls to action remind users that your organization is a dynamic one—it’s there to provide something of value, not just regurgitate information. Ask your readers to do something makes for the best kind of actionable content. Knowing what your customers need and what questions they ask will help you know what you should tell them to do.
CTAs only work when they’re integrated into web design in a way that feels organic. Check out our ideas for consumer-driven web design here.
Consumers Will Drive Ranking Metrics
More than ever before, the consumer is at the center of every SEO story we’re creating. Simply telling customers what to want and how to get it is no longer a good approach. Rather, organizations need to be more intuitive to the needs their customers present to them. Your customers are smart; treat them as intelligent consumers and they’ll reward you accordingly.
If you need a helping hand (and honestly, everyone does!), Boostability is ready to offer one. We’ve spent more than ten years helping thousands of small businesses get found online; you should be one of them. Learn more about our SEO products or schedule a free consultation to start your 2020 SEO campaign.
(And if you’re an organization that helps out small businesses too, we’ve got great partner options, which you can explore here.)